ATPE News Magazine

Fall 2019 | Volume 40 | Issue 1

In this issue of ATPE News, we explore one of the newest frontiers in classroom technology—virtual reality—and the role it plays in classroom learning. Next, get ready to say “aw” when you hear how ATPE members Alice and Andy Erdelt met in an elevator at the ATPE Summit and then fell in love. Learn about Texas Lesson Study, a program from the Texas Education Agency that offers teachers the opportunity to connect in small groups to reflect on and refine lesson plans. Plus, ATPE member Anita Marquez-Hernandez of Weslaco ISD takes a look at homework overload and how it affects students and parents alike, and Yen Huynh Rabe, an ATPE member in Houston ISD, discusses the issue of early school start times and its negative effects on adolescents. And finally, ATPE Managing Attorney Paul Tapp explains what HB 3’s “pay raise” really means for educators, and ATPE Senior Lobbyist Monty Exter explains how the passing of SB 12 gave TRS a much-needed boost.

Contents

Features

Virtual Reality: The Latest Frontier in Classroom Technology

Virtual Reality: The Latest Frontier in Classroom Technology

Since 2012, major tech companies including Facebook-owned Oculus, Google, Samsung, HTC, and Microsoft have gone on to turn immersive VR headsets and accessories into semi-affordable consumer products. As a result, the door has opened for companies and educators to begin experimenting with VR. In the past couple of years, many Texas educators have done just that, and they’re seeing the benefit.
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Andy & Alice: An ATPE Love Story

Andy & Alice: An ATPE Love Story

ATPE members Alice and Andy Erdelt met in an elevator at the ATPE Summit. Read about their story, and get ready to say “aw.”
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Texas Lesson Study

Texas Lesson Study

With origins in Japan, this TEA program is generating results in classrooms across the state.
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Everything Else

SB 12 Gives TRS Pension Fund a Much-Needed Shot in the Arm

SB 12 Gives TRS Pension Fund a Much-Needed Shot in the Arm

Big changes are ahead for teacher retirement. The Teacher Retirement System (TRS) entered the 2019 legislative session facing two major issues: a large unfunded liability and no ability to give retirees a cost-of-living increase (COLA). The session’s primary legislation affecting TRS, ATPE-supported Senate Bill (SB) 12, begins to address both concerns.
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The HB 3 “Pay Raise”: What Does It Really Mean?

The HB 3 “Pay Raise”: What Does It Really Mean?

Nothing the 86th Legislature did garnered more press and educator interest than the promise of a long-overdue pay raise. House Bill 3, the compromise school finance legislation signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, significantly affected numerous educators. While some details of the law’s effects on educator compensation are too complex for this article, we wanted to review two primary HB 3 compensation-related effects.
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What’s for Homework Tonight?

What’s for Homework Tonight?

A Weslaco ISD elementary teacher takes a look at homework overload and how it affects students and parents alike.
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Starting School Later Helps Teens

Starting School Later Helps Teens

Research shows adolescents need more sleep. A Houston-area educator takes an in-depth look into the issue of early school start times.
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President’s Message

President’s Message

A new school year has just begun, and as I look toward what the future might bring to the education profession, our students, and ATPE, one thought comes to mind: I am thankful for our welcoming organization and for all the resolve I saw in all of you during the past legislative session.
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